(Belated) Canucks Army Postgame: Beaten Sens-less

Vancouver entered Tuesday night’s showdown with the Ottawa Senators just two points out of a tie for 1st in the NHL, which is a position that basically no one expected them to be in at the start of the year. The Sedins, as we’ve come to expect over the years, came to play, and they lit the Sens up for two goals, including the overtime winner in a 4-3 victory.

Read past the jump for a (late) recap.

The Rundown

The game got off to a breakneck start, as Chris Tanev and Erik Karlsson traded scoring chances in the opening seconds, but then the Canucks took over the run of play early. Ottawa looked lost on a couple of sequences in the period, and Vancouver outshot the visitors 12-6 in the frame, all at even strength.

Despite the early pressure, the score remained 0-0 until early in the 2nd period. At 6:13, Shawn Matthias bull rushed his way past Mark Borowiecki, cut hard into the middle, and jammed the puck under Craig Anderson to put Vancouver ahead 1-0:

Ottawa tied the game 4 minutes later though, as Mike Hoffman got lost in coverage in the slot and buried a puck that squirted out past Ryan Miller. But once again, Vancouver would pull ahead with a goal, this time from Alex Burrows:

The goal was Burrows’ 4th of the season, and it came courtesy of a beautiful pass from Nick Bonino. Despite Chris Phillips being anchored in position on the play, Bonino was able to thread the puck through the Ottawa pylondefender, right on to Burrows’ tape for an easy tap-in.

However, the 2-1 lead was short lived as New Westminster’s Kyle Turris was able to pick the puck out of traffic and fire a quick wrister from in tight over Ryan Miller’s glove hand, sending the teams to their dressing rooms tied at 2 goals apiece.

Vancouver took the lead for a third time on the night, when Kevin Bieksa fired a point shot past Craig Anderson to put the Canucks ahead 3-2. The play actually started with the Sedins taking an increasingly more common defensive zone start, winning the faceoff, rushing up the ice, and setting up the cycle, before finding Bieksa open at the point:

But again, those #peskySens just would not go away, as Kyle Turris fired an innocent looking shot on Ryan Miller, who was unable to control the rebound. Mark Stone cleaned up the garbage however, hacking the puck past the prone Vancouver netminder to tie the game at 3-3, and eventually send it to overtime.

In the extra frame, as we saw earlier this season against the Habs, we were treated to a little Sedin magic. Henrik walked around Clarke MacArthur and fired a cross-ice pass to Daniel, who did his best Alex Ovechkin impression and hammered the puck by Craig Anderson, giving Vancouver a 4-3 win:

The Numbers

G16 v Ottawa

Courtesy of NaturalStatTrick

The game was fairly even after the Canucks dominated the first period, as Vancouver out-attempted the Senators 28-26 in the 2nd and 3rd, and 50-40 on the night. Most of this came courtesy of Daniel and Henrik Sedin. The twins were +24/-9 (72.7%) and +26/-12 (68.4%) respectively, wrecking Chris Phillips and Eric Gryba in particular.

The fourth line with Horvat and DeFazio were pretty solid in very limited time, and the second unit of Higgins, Burrows, and Bonino were pretty good too, although they were buried in a short time against the Michalek-Zibanejad-Ryan line. In just three minutes of ice time, Bonino was a +2/-8 against Ryan, and a +1/-7 against Michalek.

The Conclusion

The win puts Vancouver in a tie for 1st place in the NHL with Tampa Bay, and while the start has been fantastic, we have to ask just how long the success will last. The Canucks aren’t the best team in the NHL, and they haven’t really played enough games for us to really have a good read on how good they are. We can guess that they’re an above average team, but we learned last December that a hot streak can run for a month, and the team can still finish in the bottom-10 in the NHL.

The Canucks are back in action on Friday, when they play host to the Phoenix Coyotes. The ‘Yotes have struggled to start the season, but are looking to get back on track with a few wins. Arizona and the Canucks actually haven’t been too far apart in terms of puck possession as they’re both running with a sub-50% Corsi on the season. The biggest difference is that Arizona’s goaltending has been awful. We’ll have more for you on Friday.

  • It seems a lot of people are waiting for a collapse like last year judging the talent on this team less than last years.

    The only place that might be true is Garrison for Sbisa, but paying 4.5 mil a year for a 5th Dman is not sound financially. Like Benning said when hired if you are getting paid top money then you should produce like a top player..

    Bonino is not as physical as Kesler, which might mean he will play most of the games this year. Also not as talented as the ’11 Kesler of the Selke awards, but I believe will give the team more as a better fit on the second line. He already plays better with Burr than Kesler ever did and is a much better passer. If he gets 20-25 goals and keeps making plays for Higgins and Burrows, the Canucks are better off with an ascending 25 yr old.

    Goal is night and day, I don’t see playing time a problem and except for one snake bit night in Dallas, Miller is aces. Every team has those games where everything goes wrong. Pitt got demolished two nights ago and Boston last night.

    This team, even short handed brings jump and energy each game and seems to make its own breaks. Last years good start through December seemed like they were hanging on to wins, where this team seems to be winning games.

    Just a different feeling all the way around. More confidence.

    • JFR wrote:

      “It seems a lot of people are waiting for a collapse like last year judging the talent on this team less than last years.”

      Uh, no.

      I haven’t seen anything indicating anybody expects a collapse like last year. Taking the position that the Canucks are unlikely to keep up their present pace is not the same thing as saying they are going to suffer a complete collapse.

      I also haven’t seen anyone suggest in the last month that the team’s talent level was less than last year’s team had. I’ve seen lots of suggestions that it isn’t good enough to win a Stanley Cup, but that’s far from saying it is worse than last year.

      • andyg

        Uhh yeah,

        When people say remember the fast start last year, or remember what happened after Christmas….. That is bringing up the collapse.

        As far as I’m concerned and most pro coaches, you are what your record says.

        Will they be the Presidents trophy winner. I doubt it, but with a healthy productive top line and PP combined with great goaltending, any team can make a deep run in the playoffs.

        Bonino was playing on the Ducks 4th line, now on the 2nd line he has a chance to prove himself and Miller has something to prove ! Don’t underestimate the power of a front office and coaching over haul.

        Rangers went from 1 round and out in a weak Eastern conference to the Cup finals. Mainly because Torts and his style were replaced… Until the Canucks prove me wrong, with a miller and Lack in goal the team has a pretty good chance to win every night they are on the ice.

    • andyg

      Everyone would like to get back on the bus but they are nervous about getting let down. There is a lot of good signs.

      The twins look good,Burrows is back to his old self and Edler is playing well. As you said the new additions are also a plus.

  • andyg

    Meanwhile, the Sharks were beaten and soundly outplayed by the Panthers in Florida. I guess since the Sharks were so much better than the Canucks in last week’s loss, and the Panthers beat the Sharks, they must be the rightful first place team in the league, right?

    Oh, wait, am I reading too much into small sample size data sets without considering all the facts? Funny how that goes.

    • VancouverEnvy

      And the Ducks just outshot the Kings 49-26.

      The Kings are 21st in fenwick close and have a PDO of over 104. The Sharks are 16th in fenwick close. But they both dominated Vancouver head to head despite Vancouver being better in the same measurement. Oh,oh, but different schedules, injuries…

      This is a fun game to play. Pick and choose from the advance buffet table or the results platter to fit your agenda!

    • VancouverEnvy

      I guess this is what Calgary fans did 4 years after their Stanley Cup run.

      Every year is a new year irrespective of the talent on the roster!

      I’m sure this aging core is magically going to revert to 2011 level without Luongo, Schneider, Kesler & Ehrhoff…

  • VancouverEnvy

    With the current roster, this team seems able to hold its own against most teams, although I wouldn’t expect more than a .400 – .500 record against the California teams by season’s end. The team’s in trouble, though, if a couple of defencemen are injured at the same time. There’s a lack of organizational depth on defence, and while Corrado is acceptable as an injury plug-in, there’s nobody else ready if more than one D gets hurt.

    • VancouverEnvy

      “There’s a lack of organizational depth on defence, and while Corrado is acceptable as an injury plug-in, there’s nobody else ready if more than one D gets hurt.”

      While you are right about the first part, there isn’t another D prospect in the system that remotely resembles a top prospect.

      Certainly nothing in the AHL…